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European vote on green tech laws looms

27 Feb 2013
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A vote on new European laws that could place strict eco-requirements on manufactures of IT equipment including computers and servers is to take place in Brussels on Thursday.

Members states will be debating the European Ecodesign Directive which is focused on a number of issues with the manufacturing of such devices.

It could force firms to meet efficiency levels on numerous aspects of devices, from the power consumption of the overall architecture to requiring the use of GPU components that can power themselves down to save power.

The law could also see a labelling scheme on the energy efficiency of computers and servers introduced, as exists with washing machines and fridges.

However, the European Commission (EC), which drafted the original document back in 2009, has been accused of not going far enough with the  thresholds set on these requirements.

The Coolproducts consortium, which is backed by the likes of Friends of the Earth and the European Environmental Bureau, argues the limits are now out of date.

The co-ordinator for Coolproducts, Stephane Arditi, explained that the consortium is lobbying member states to ask the EC to raise these thresholds, otherwise the new law will prove meaningless.

"The requirements were drawn up in 2009 for 2014 but last year tests on 19 out of 20 computers found they would already meet the requirements, so the legislation would have no effect on the market," he told V3.

"We're hoping the data we've provided to them will make them ask for the requirements to be more stringent."

The consortium also wants a focus on the use of toxic materials within computers to be added, arguing this is entirely missing from the legislation in its current form.

Arditi said computer manufacturers should want to be challenged on their green credentials as they frequently boast their technologies can help save the environment, such as by enabling home working instead of commuting.

"We feel it's contradictory that they make so many claims on how they can help to mitigate climate change without having requirements on energy savings applied apply to their industry," he added.

The debate is set to take place on Thursday, with any outcome likely to be revealed either late Friday or early next week.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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